Meredith Darst and Elation Crowned Grand Champion Pony Hunter at Washington International Horse Show
RELEASE: October 25, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Rebecca Walton
Sunday marked the conclusion of the Washington International Horse Show at rhe Verizon Center as the Pony Hunter divisions wrapped up their second day of competition. Meredith Darst had a banner day, claiming two of the championship tricolors, and going on to win the Grand Champion Pony Hunter trophy with Elation. She was also presented with the award for Best Child Rider on a Pony, sponsored by the Arute Family, for her excellent performance.
Darst and Elation, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, began the day dominating Small Pony Hunter division. The pair earned three first-place ribbons and a second-place ribbon to garner the Stombock Saddlery Challenge Trophy and the championship title. Aleece Jarman of Pace, FL, followed with the reserve championship prize for her ride aboard Rico Suave. Darst and Elation were later awarded the Miles River Moonglow Perpetual Trophy, after they were named Grand Champion Pony Hunter.
"I'm really happy, it's so exciting," smiled Darst after receiving her prizes. "Elation was really good. The handy today wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be, so it rode really smooth. Elation moves well, and sometimes she needs a lot of leg but she's always good."
Darst's mother Mindy helps train her, and was very proud of her daughter's performance. "Elation is a relatively new ride for Meredith," she explained. "She rode her for the first time at Capital Challenge and they were champion. She kind of figured her out there and they've been a great match ever since."
Later in the day, Darst continued her winning streak with Tuscany, owned by the West End Stables of Los Angeles, CA, in the Medium Pony Hunter division, sponsored by Bob Foosaner and Kris Gali. The duo took home the Shenandoah Sundowner Perpetual Trophy and the championship prize for their outstanding performance. The reserve championship honors went to Victoria Colvin and Promise Too, owned by Scott Stewart of Ocala, FL.
"Tuscany jumped well, especially yesterday," noted 11-year-old Darst. "He's a lot of fun."
Darst began riding Tuscany this summer, and the pair was Grand Champion Pony Hunter at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show last week. "She absolutely loves him," said Mindy. "He's a wonderful pony and Harrisburg last week was a nice finish, and I'm very proud of what Meredith had accomplished here."
This is the fourth year that Darst has earned a championship tricolor at the Washington International Horse Show. "I love Washington, it's my favorite horse show," she commented. "Waking up early is hard but I like the show. Yesterday we got to the spy museum and that was fun."
The Large Pony Hunters competed next, and it was Victoria Colvin with All The Best, also owned by Stewart, who took home the championship title. The pair won two blue ribbons to claim the Pegasus Stables Perpetual Trophy. Sydney Shulman and Center Field, owned by Grand Central, Inc., of North Salem, NY, won Saturday's under saddle class to earn the reserve championship award.
Colvin has been riding All The Best for two years and she was very happy with his performance. "He felt good, he felt like he was jumping really high," she said. "He can have a loop in the rein and you can just sit down. He has a fantastic canter, it's like a couch!"
Now Colvin will travel to Florida to compete during the ESP Fall Circuit, and she is looking forward to catching up on sleep during the long drive.
The final event of the day was the WIHS Local Hunter Finals. The WIHS Local Hunter Finals Competition for Ponies, sponsored by the Wilder Family, was held first, with the top prize going to Alexis Sicher and Seastar, owned by Harriet Notzen. The pair also took home The Liseter Clever Star Perpetual Trophy and the Local Pony Hunter Champion tricolor. The reserve championship prize went to Kirklen Petersen and Severn Foxtrot. Next was the WIHS Local Hunter Finals Competition for Horses, sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Harold M. Keshishian. This year's winner was Angee Quattro-Kerns riding Gran Turismo, owned by Blaire Kinglsey and Glenn Ridge Farm. The pair was also named the Local Hunter Grand Champion, and received the Black, Starr & Frost Perpetual Trophy. The reserve championship honors went to Kirklen Petersen and Severn Foxtrot.
The 51st anniversary of the Washington International Horse Show concluded on Sunday. The top horses and riders from across the nation competed at this year's event with excellent results. For more information about the 2009 Washington International Horse and a complete list of results, please visit www.wihs.org